EU increases financial support in the aftermath of the earthquake
Brussels : The European Commission (EC) has today approved financial support worth €16.6 million to assist Nepal after the devastating earthquake that hit the country just over a week ago. The assistance will be provided directly to the government of Nepal and will be available later this week. Following the joint EU-UN mission to Nepal, an additional €3 million of emergency aid has also been made available today, bringing the total of the European Commission's support since the earthquake struck to €22.6 million.
This comes on top of bilateral assistance from EU member states.
"This support is an expression of our solidarity with the Nepali people," EU commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, commented, adding that it is vital for Nepal to allow relief efforts to continue, as well as to kick-start rehabilitation work after the devastating earthquake. "As soon as the needs assessments are completed, we will look into how we can further assist people in Nepal."
The announcement follows the full mobilisation of the Commission's humanitarian and emergency response tools to help respond to the disaster. Commissioner Christos Stylianides, responsible for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, has just returned from Nepal where he took stock of the needs and the European efforts to help.
"I have witnessed the magnitude of the destruction and of the support that will be needed to recover from such a devastating earthquake," commissioner Stylianides said, adding that he reaffirmed the EU's tangible solidarity with the government and people of Nepal and with the heroic emergency actors working around the clock on the ground. "The announced assistance will allow us to efficiently link our current emergency efforts with the longer term reconstruction phase."
In the aftermath of the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25, the European Union made available €6 million in its immediate response. The support comes in addition to the assistance from the member states and the deployment of European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection experts to the crisis area.
The EU's emergency aid goes towards the most urgent needs in the worst affected areas, including emergency shelter, clean water, medicine and telecommunications.
Aside from urgent financial aid and the presence of experts, the European Commission has been coordinating the joint response of member states who have sent first-aid teams and equipment through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
The financial support worth €16.6 million approved today to assist Nepal is made available from the 2007-2013 development programme for Nepal under the Development Cooperation Instrument for activities covering stability and peace building, as well as support to the education sector.
Nepal has fulfilled eligibility criteria for the above mentioned programmes. Payments were foreseen to take place later this year, but given the urgency of the situation, they were made available under a fast-track procedure.
Meanwhile, the European Commission will provide €360 million to Nepal from Development Cooperation Instrument until 2020. The support focuses on sectors such as education, sustainable rural development and the strengthening of democracy. The EU's support may have to be reviewed in the context of the most urgent humanitarian needs in the aftermath of the earthquake for the very short term, as well as in the context of a needs assessment on the reconstruction phase that will be carried out by Nepal and the International Community at a later stage.